Minerva in a Chariot

  • Abbott Handerson Thayer, Minerva in a Chariot, ca. 1894, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.121

Luce Center Label

In 1894, Abbott Thayer won a commission to create a large mosaic panel of the goddess Minerva for the Library of Congress, and he painted this oil sketch before executing the final version in glass. He was to receive $4000 for the completed project, but engineers and architects at the library quickly grew frustrated with Thayer’s unwillingness to comply with their instructions. After years of argument, the commission was given to another prominent muralist, Elihu Vedder. His Minerva now presides over the landing of what was once the library’s main staircase. (Cartwright, “Reading Rooms: Interpreting the American Public Library Mural, 1890-1930,” PhD diss., Univ. Michigan, 1994)

Minerva in a Chariot
ca. 1894
On View
Not on view.
38 1/8 x 53 3/4 in. (96.7 x 136.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of John Gellatly

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Dress – historic – classical dress
  • Animal – horse
  • Figure female – full length
  • Mythology – classical – Minerva
  • Travel – land – chariot
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI